Becoming a Professional Time-Lapse Photographer

Matthew Vandeputte is a Belgian photographer living in Sydney, Australia, whose work is at the forefront of commercial time-lapse and hyperlapse photography. In this video he gives a short insight into his work and offers a nice introduction to time-lapse photography while also providing some inspiration to anyone seeking to turn a hobby into a profession.

Much of Vandeputte's work is used by brands to create distinctive content for social media and advertising campaigns. Here, he discusses how his practice evolved and how he has to keep innovating to keep his work fresh and appealing to clients.

Time-lapse photography is an incredibly slow process, and Matt understands how lucky he is to have established a career where people pay for him to spend a whole day shooting, plus several days editing, to produce only a couple of seconds of footage. The amount of preparation and research is also intense as any unanticipated elements can easily undermine many hours of work. 

Matt is very much a Canon-user, and while he understands the criticisms for their apparent lack of innovation in recent years, he appreciates that their products offer high-quality results that suit his needs. His Canon 6D Mark II allowed him to turn around a time-lapse job in less than 25 hours, taking advantage of the camera's internal 4K time-lapse feature that dramatically cut down on post-production. "The trick here," Matt explains, "is to make sure your exposure is as close to perfect as possible, as you have very little room in post to color grade or correct under or overexposed imagery."

Technological developments in recent years mean that time-lapse photography is becoming more accessible, and, at the same time, more sophisticated as professionals use the latest gear, such as motion control set-ups, to create footage that stands out. Matt packs multiple cameras and tripods, but he's still able to travel as a one-man unit, staying fast and light, and able to access locations while still being able to create distinctive imagery, often characterized by a blend of hyperlapse and time-lapse footage cut to music. Being mobile and flexible while offering professional results makes Matt's services appealing to prospective clients.

Since establishing his niche, Matt has made a conscious effort to employ assistants, allowing him to create behind-the-scenes footage that offers an insight into his work. This gives valuable learning opportunities to those assistants as well as paying them at a good rate — something which Matt says is a way to pay forward the opportunities he was given when he was starting out.

For more of Matt's work, visit his YouTube channel, two Instagram profiles, and portfolio website.

Andy Day's picture

Andy Day is a British photographer and writer living in France. He began photographing parkour in 2003 and has been doing weird things in the city and elsewhere ever since. He's addicted to climbing and owns a fairly useless dog. He has an MA in Sociology & Photography which often makes him ponder what all of this really means.

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Thanks for the write up! Always a pleasure.

Thank you for sharing this. Much needed for the hour. :)